BRENNEMAN, RICHARD CHARLES Name: Richard Charles Brenneman Rank/Branch: United States Air Force/O2 Unit: 555 TFS Date of Birth: 25 March 1942 Home City of Record: Mishawaka IN Date of Loss: 08 November 1967 Country of Loss: North Vietnam Loss Coordinates: 212000 North 1041800 East Status (in 1973): Returnee Category: Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: F4C Missions: Other Personnel in Incident: Refno: 0896 Source: Compiled by P.O.W. NETWORK from one or more of the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews. REMARKS: 730314 RELEASED BY DRV SOURCE: WE CAME HOME copyright 1977 Captain and Mrs. Frederic A Wyatt (USNR Ret), Barbara Powers Wyatt, Editor P.O.W. Publications, 10250 Moorpark St., Toluca Lake, CA 91602 Text is reproduced as found in the original publication (including date and spelling errors). RICHARD C. BRENNEMAN Captain - United States Air Force Shot Down: November 8,1967 Released: March 14,1973 Captain Brenneman's home town is Mishawaka, Indiana. His father, Lloyd, is employed by the Indiana Bell Telephone Co. and his mother, Hildegard, is employed by one of the home town banks. His sister, Druzelle, has recently received her Master's degree in English and his brother, Bryan, is now a freshman at Bethel College in Mishawaka. He graduated from Mishawaka High School in 1960 and that fall entered Indiana University from which he graduated with a degree in Biology. In June of 1965 he was married and in October of that year he entered Air Force pilot training at Laughlin AFB, Texas. Upon graduating in October of 1966 he received the Distinguished Military Graduate Award, and shortly thereafter he and his wife decided to go their separate ways in life. His way included training in the F-4 Phantom at Davis Monthan AFB, Tucson, Arizona, and then on to the 555th Tactical Fighter Squadron at Ubon, Thailand. He was shot down over North Vietnam on 8 November 1967. His release on 14 March 1973 began a new life. That new life will continue in the Air Force with his return to the fighter pilot business. He intends to enjoy life, to remain a bachelor for some time, to further his education, to travel, and to pursue some interests in the business world. A personal message from Captain Brenneman: I would like to express my appreciation and gratitude for the wonderful reception that my fellow Americans have given me upon my return. It has indeed made this time the greatest time in my life. I would also like to convey a heartfelt "Thank You" for the way in which the American People have supported us during our time away. Words will never fully explain how we appreciate your efforts in our behalf; efforts which included pressure upon the North Vietnamese to improve our conditions of captivity - pressure which was successful. America is a beautiful, wonderful country - a fact that arises not only from the land itself but even more from its people. Thank You. -------------------------------
Richard Brenneman retired from the United States Air Force as a Lt. Colonel. He and his wife Grace reside in California. Information on Richard Brenneman can also be found on pages 22 and 23 of Benjamin Schemmer's "THE RAID." It states: The prisoners at Son Tay got to spend more time outside than in other camps because the North Vietnamese were enlarging the compound, building a new interrogation room and a small kitchen-dining hall for the guards. Before Mo Baker arrived and began his enthusiastic assault on the brick pile, Ralph Gaither and the other POWs had been put to work building a new compound wall, about 60 feet beyond the north wall that lay just outside the Opium Den and Beer House. The interrogation room Mo Baker was breaking up bricks for and another small cellblock were being built just inside the new wall. The North Vietnamese were improving Son Tay in other ways. They had the prisoners plant two steel pipes to hold poles for a volleyball net-so the guards could play, not the prisoners. One day, Air Force Captain Richard C. Brenneman, a November 1967 shootdown, brashly shimmied up the volleyball pole, right in the middle of the compound, and took a look outside the walls. It was "pretty obvious," a big "no no." A guard in the tower by the front gate spotted him. The North Vietnamese were "irritated." They threw Brenneman "under the tower" - a favorite form of torture at Son Tay. Brenneman was locked up in a small shack for 30 days, baking by day, freezing at night, choking in the stench of his own excrement. The guards hauled him out only long enough to beat him when he refused to admit that he had climbed the pole on anything but a whim. Brenneman took it well, but finally got an order from the camp's SRO to write an apology to the North Vietnamese before they broke him and extracted something critical, like the real purpose of his trip up the pole, or communication methods and codes. Brenneman wrote the note. It said something harmless like "I'm sorry I was a bad boy," and the camp commander ordered him to be released.